By Charity Chimphamba, Self Help Africa

Bahati Msowoya, 57, comes from Chibobola village in Kaporo North Agricultural Extension Plan Area. She is the head of a family of six members.  Bahati is a farmer and a member of Chimwemwe Farmer Field School (FFS).

Bahati has been going to a farmer field school without walls, without a teacher. She learnt how to make Mbeya manure from the farmer Field school.

“I used Mbeya manure last growing season because I observed that it is much cheaper to make compared to buying chemical fertiliser and most of the raw materials are locally available,” Bahati narrated. She explained that she only bought 10kgs of Urea fertiliser at MK5000 which was mixed with other locally found materials while the same amount of fertiliser would have cost her MK24,000.00

To make 60 Kilograms of Mbeya manure Bahati used 20 kgs chicken dung, 10 kgs ashes, 20 kgs maize bran, 10 Kgs Urea and 5 litres of water. The raw materials were then mixed and enclosed in an airtight bag for 21 days.

“In the past I was using inorganic fertilizer only on my 0.1-hectare plot of rice and I was harvesting about 350 kilograms of rice. This year after using Mbeya manure, I harvested about 550 kilograms of rice,” She explained. According to Bahati, Mbeya manure improves soil texture and soil water holding capacity that support strong growth and development of the plants.

“I have already prepared a 50 kg bag of Mbeya Manure in readiness for the coming agriculture season,” Bahati added while showing some of the manure.

Most of the non-FFS members from her village have been motivated with the performance of Mbeya fertiliser in the rice fields as such a some have started mobilizing resources to prepare Mbeya manure in readiness for the 2020/2021 growing season.